Photo Set: Northern Ireland

The trip to Northern Ireland was by far the most important part of my trip. I was going to meet a “new” friend, someone I’d written about extensively over the last five months, to interview him and speak with him about the project. This is what I love about writing! 
Our adventure started at Waterloo Station…

Northern Ireland is picturesque, with rolling green hills of farmland and trees. It is a place of tradition, simple needs, and simple wants. Life on the family farm. Animals.IMG_1445  This is the cottage my friend Colm built, by hand, on his family’s land, which he can trace back thousands of years.… and these are his cows!The first night he took us to Brysons for dinner and a couple of pints (of Guinness, naturally). He’s well known around there, and rightfully so, he’s been going to that same bar for over 30 years!After a morning spent working, we decided to break for the afternoon and do a little exploring around Northern Ireland. We had a couple destinations on our list, but we were up for the adventure! Colm told us some great history about the places we visited!
This is the Northern Coast!
As a Game of Thrones nerd, Matt absolutely had to see The Dark Hedges!We also checked out Dunluce Castle!The last night was really special though, when Colm took us to The Crosskeys, a bar that’s been operating since 1654. Yes, 1654. The history there is never-ending, and there’s even a ghost that haunts the bar! We stayed late (like 3 AM), long after the bar had closed, drinking Guinness and singing songs with the a group of guys and the owner. It was one of those nights when I was given a rare opportunity to get a peek inside someone’s idyllic life, and it felt like a scene from a musical. Despite the downsides, and Colm’s had many, his life is rather wonderful.

Unfortunately, we had to leave early on Sunday, but spending the weekend with Colm was an experience I’ll never forget. Until next time, he’ll just be “going with the flow.”
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BONUS: In the picture below, I am holding an actual comm, a letter written on cigarette paper and smuggled out of Long Kesh Prison in the early 1980’s. These tiny pieces of history were integral in spreading the horrors of what happened inside those walls.

This finishes my European trip! Relive the beauty, starting back at Photo Set: Love in the South of France!

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Photo Set: Dinan and Paris

We left Saint-Malo and headed toward Paris, not without making a pitstop in Dinan, a beautiful old village along the way. Gorgeous old architecture, and beautiful views!IMG_0887IMG_0919IMG_0909IMG_0938IMG_0898IMG_0896We arrived in Paris at the perfect time, rush hour… which also happened to be happy hour! I booked a bed in the Generator Hostel, located not too far from where Graham and Kate were staying, so after taking this picture from their window, I kissed them goodbye and headed toward my hostel.IMG_0965IMG_0974IMG_0986IMG_0991I only had one day in Paris, and as I wandered around one of the most romantic cities in the world, I was making a list of the places I wanted to see in Paris… when I come back with someone I love. (Yeah, that’s sappy, whatever! It’s my trip!)IMG_0995IMG_1059Accordingly, I spent most of my day at the Eiffel Tower, eating a baguette, drinking Rose, smoking cigarettes (sorry, mom!), and writing in my journal. It was so quintessentially perfect that I couldn’t possibly not, you know what I mean?IMG_1062I also made this cool time-lapse!ezgif.com-optimize
My last night in Paris could have been a quiet one, if everything had gone to plan. As I was heading up to the rooftop bar to watch the sunset, I ran into a group of young travelers from Southern California. We chatted, drank, played foozball, then headed out to Bastille for dancing. This is the last clear picture I took that night.IMG_1140.jpgThe last morning in Paris, I checked out, and walked along the river (trying not to throw up from a vicious hangover), heading to the train station…IMG_1114IMG_1123
My trip to Paris was far too short, but I definitely have a list of things I need to come back to see. What’s the old phrase, “Always leave them wanting more?” Well I want more Paris, that’s for sure.
But now, the adventure must continue, I was about to jump on a train to London!

BONUS: Is it just me, or is this Space Invader?
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Check out my other photo sets from France! Photo Set: Love in the South of FrancePhoto Set: Saint-Malo, The Walled CityPhoto Set: Mont Saint-Michel, and Photo Set: Normandy and Cancale.

Photo Set: Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is an island commune located approximately a kilometer off the Normandy coast of France, and it looks like a goddamn fairy tale. (It is, nearly, a fairy tale, as the city was the inspiration for the Disney film Tangled.)IMG_0399Part monastery, part fort, part village, Mont Saint-Michel is designed to mirror the feudal system, with the monastery at the top, the village at the bottom, and there were allegedly houses outside the walls for farmers and fisherman.IMG_0407We arrived in the afternoon so the tide was still low, allowing you to walk around the outside of the walls (if you so desired). It was really rocky and muddy, so I decided to pass, but inside the walls is unbelievable… yep, that’s a drawbridge!IMG_0409Narrow, steep streets, lined with little shops, restaurants, and cafes.IMG_0412According to the legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on this rocky islet. From then on, it was referred to as Mont Saint-Michel.IMG_0418Saint Michael, considered an “archangel,” was not only a healer, but also a defender of the people, famously depicted slaying Satan in the form of a serpent. The Eagle represents Saint Michael himself, so there’s gorgeous gilded statues interlaced with the architecture. Here’s the Eagle head!IMG_0444IMG_0462Behold… the abbey! A destination for monks (and once used as a prison), the abbey is breathtaking, silent and still, a series of Gothic rooms and vaulted architecture. Since the island is somewhat small, and flat land is difficult to come by, the sacred space is divided into many rooms for their individual purposes!IMG_0467

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The dining hall had a beautiful overhanging installation of feathers, hanging over the middle of the room. It was easy to imagine the long tables of monks dining here.IMG_0496IMG_0512One of my favorite parts of Mont Saint-Michel is the giant tread-wheel, which required six workers to power the hamster-style wheel, allowing the monks to haul up thousands of pounds of stones and supplies from the landing below!

IMG_0533IMG_0521IMG_0575IMG_0473From the ramparts, you can see (intruders?) for miles! The tide’s starting to come in!IMG_0558IMG_0557The bridge to access the island was built in 2014, allowing later access to the island and helping with the tidal flow around the island. (See how the water came in?!)IMG_0607
Walking along the walls and ramparts, it’s hard not to feel a little romance, right?IMG_0632
Cemeteries in magical places like these are especially fascinating to me, when you consider the small population (under 50) that has lived here consistently over the generations, and those that have fallen here by chance, now remain forever.IMG_0657IMG_0660Mont Saint-Michel is by FAR one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to in my life, so I had to snap this panorama before I left, and I think it’s the best photo I got.IMG_0685And the trip continues! Where to next you ask? We take a somber, rainy trip, to the American Cemetery in Normandy.

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Did you see the photos from Chateau de Bouthonvilliers and Saint-Malo, The Walled City? You gotta check them out!

Photo Set: Saint-Malo, The Walled City

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Saint-Malo, located in Brittany, Northwestern France, is a walled port city on the English Channel. A friend of mine read All The Light We Cannot See, which takes place in St. Malo, and convinced us to spend a few days there intra muros… inside the walls.

Saint-Malo, a port town, was historically notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and pirates. Walking around the port, you can see why this little city has been so popular for so long.

Jacques Cartier, credited as the discoverer of Canada, hailed from Saint-Malo!

I was immediately enamored with the old cobbled stone streets, narrow and caked in history, with the intricate brick patterns guiding you down the city’s adorable streets and alleyways, where you could find boutiques, bakeries, and high-end jewelry shops.

In late 1944, General Patton’s US 3rd Army, advancing into western France, laid siege to Saint-Malo and it was only through a large scale bombardment that the last stubborn German defenders were dislodged. Accordingly, a majority of the city was destroyed… but they rebuilt, and it’s remarkable.

 

The tide plays a major role in the defensibility of the city. When the tide rises, the beaches disappear and accessibility is limited, or completely eliminated all together. This swimming pool is above ground at low tide, and the diving platform is completely under water at high tide.

The National Fort, built in 1689 is only accessible at low tide.

 

You can walk (almost) all the way around the entire city on the raised walls, looking outward or inward. There was a little bit of construction so a segment was blocked off, but we walked most of it!

Quality people watching going on up here!

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… and some delicious crepes. Check out that chocolate!IMG_0260Last, but certainly not least, I knew I would love Saint-Malo forever because their official mascot is an Ermine wearing a cape. Yes, you read that correctly, a weasel wearing a motherfuckin’ cape. Here’s a shot of their drain covers to prove it:Saint-Malo is definitely on my list of places to recommend to anyone traveling through Northwestern France. Really cool spot. Lots of history and gorgeous views.

Where to next? Mont Saint-Michel!

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Did you see my photo post about Chateau de Bouthonvilliers?

Photo Set: Love in the South of France

Last month, I embarked on my first trip to Europe; a whirlwind of love, travel, work, and adventure. It was the trip of a lifetime, which would start in Paris, France, for a best friend’s nuptials. I connected with friends after landing at Charles De Gaulle Airport, cohorts heading to the truly destination wedding.

Our train was delayed, so why not catch a quick nap in the park by the Natural History Museum and the Botanical Gardens, right? Right.

In order to reach the chateau, we had to take two trains from Paris to Bonneval, where we were picked up at the train station and brought to the breathtaking Château de Bouthonvilliers. It is absolutely gorgeous.

IMG_9751IMG_9829IMG_9833IMG_9758The sprawling Chateau is complete with carriage house, chapel (with underground cave), swimming pool, and a one-acre garden! Oh yeah, did I mention there’s livestock, too? No big deal. (Side note: I wanted to kill the three roosters. Still do, as a matter of fact.)

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The caretaker, Edward, told us many stories about the Chateau, starting with the amazing fact that the property has been in his family for over 300 years! It was home to some very important historical figures, the location of some “secret world history,” and don’t forget about the high-ranking Nazi Officials that took over the chateau during World War II. (They fled when Patton came through.)

I wasn’t initially able to come to this wedding, and I was truly heartbroken about it, but something magical came up with regards to a project I’m working on, and I was going to be flying to Europe after all… so with some good graces and friendship, I was able to loop in the wedding after all! Best choice ever!

Back to the Chateau. Here’s the Carriage House! Those colored tiles around the edges are awards the property has won… I think?

I slept with some old friends out in the carriage house… which was also really fun! It’s like we were teenagers again, bunked up dorm room style! Now we’re just older, a little wiser, and drunk, right?

The little chapel had a “cave” (pronounced “cah-va”) underneath it…

… jam-packed with wine, champagne, beer, and foie gras. If you wanted something, you just picked out a bottle, wrote it down in the book (honor code!), and they’ll bill you for it later! Simple, and unmistakably dangerous.

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The bride and groom are some of my best friends in the world, and I was honored to be there with my other close friends, pitching in as we could to make it truly a dream day. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous (as expected) and I have no shame in admitting I openly wept at the sentimentality of the beautiful moment. Love is all you need!

First dance for the newlyweds!

I can’t remember what time the first dance was, but we didn’t stop tearing up that dance floor until 4 AM. (Special shoutout to the DJ for throwing on “Ignition Remix.”)

It was one hell of a wedding, you guys.

Bonus Adventures: One morning we took a quick trip into Bonneval for a little breakfast. It was an adorable little village!

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There was a “welcome party” thrown by the groom’s mother at another quaint country house nearby, located in France’s “bread basket,” the region where most of the wheat in the country is grown.

I mean, look at all those baguettes!

Where did we go next? Saint-Malo, the Walled City

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Hiring My First Freelancer

In preparation for my upcoming crowdsourcing campaign in February, I decided to get started early on the market research and lead generation I’ll need to run a PR and marketing campaign.

Happy Hour! is a competitive drinking card game, challenging players to collect ingredients to deliver drinks like a real bartender! Not only is Happy Hour! fun to play, but players are also subliminally learning facts about their favorite alcohols and drink recipes.

In order for Happy Hour! to have a wildly successful campaign, we would need to market the game (and it’s future possibilities) to the alcohol, nightlife, and cocktail cultures. I knew the areas that I wanted to focus on, but I honestly didn’t have the first idea on where to start. For Dinner’s Ready!I sought out celebrity chefs to endorse the game. This project was going to be a much bigger project that quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in doing.

I decided to outsource the project to a virtual assistant. I figured somebody else out there has had a similar need to acquire contact information, so chances are there is a freelancer that runs a “bot” that scours the internet to return a spreadsheet containing rows and rows of contact information. However the information is collected, I’m sure it was going to be happen faster than I could do it.

Here’s my original job posting on Upwork:

I’m looking for someone to help me build a database of alcohol-related contacts for marketing an upcoming crowdsourcing campaign.

I’m looking for you to fill out a spreadsheet containing the following data:
First Name, Last Name, E-mail Address, Company, Phone Number, Note

Ideally you would locate approximately 100 contacts for each of the following categories (roughly 750-1000 contacts):
– Bartending Schools (online and offline)
– Bar and Restaurant Chains (North America)
– Tabletop Game Stores (North America)
– Alcohol Brands (International)
– Distilleries (International)
– Fraternities (North America)
– Adult Gaming Communities (online and offline)
– Relevant Newspaper Contacts (online and offline)
– Drinking and Liquor Blogs
– Tabletop Game Blogs
– Famous Bartenders (if there is such a thing?)

If doing this kind of research sounds interesting and fun to you, please Submit an Application! Also please include the recipe of your favorite mixed drink. If you omit this, I will not consider your application.

The response I received to the ad was not what I had imagined, but it was definitely what I needed. I received a message from Shah, from Bangladesh, India. He cut right through to the core of my job, and he didn’t waste time with my challenges. Maybe he didn’t read the whole post? Maybe he doesn’t know the word cocktail? Maybe Shah doesn’t drink?

Nevertheless, this is the response I received:

Hi, I can do the task.You can trust me in your project.I see all of your requirements and ready to star now. Please reply me and give me the opportunity. Thanks. Shah.

Looking over his freelancing resume, I had to trust him. His portfolio was extensive in just one area: scouring the internet for e-mail addresses. Despite the secrecy around Shah’s favorite cocktail, everything seemed good enough for me so I reached back out and we started working out the kinks, mostly negotiating the price per 100 rows of contact information. Ultimately we decided on 1200 rows of contacts.

Hi, Sir Here is first 100 rows. Kindly See my attach and check this. I start first Country – USA. keyword Bar and Restaurant Chains. Please replay me. Thanks,shah

His grasp on the English language is starting to wear thin, but that’s not what I hired him. I hired him to track down info, and here he was delivering the first 100 rows, less than 24 hours after we started the project. As I went through the information, I noticed he had collected contact information for dozens of restaurant chains in Montana. While that information may one day be important, in pitching a cocktail-related drinking game, restaurants are probably at the bottom of the list. Shah and I recalibrate on goals, and locations, then I sent him back to check in at 250 rows.

Sure enough, 12 hours later, Shah sent me the first 250 rows. Everything looked great so I sent him off to collect the remaining 950 contacts as I tucked into bed, Shah just returning from his lunch break in Bangladesh.

As I thought about it more, there’s no way that Shah can be doing all of this research by hand. He’s got to have a bot or something scouring and collecting data. If that’s true, then he should be able to turn this thing around in a few days. Since it’s my first time hiring a freelancer, I decided to reach out to Shah to see how long it would take to get the full 1200 addresses.

Yes Sir Thanks for replay. I will complete it within 2/3 days. Or ASAP. Thanks- Shah

My man, Shah!

On Friday, I got this e-mail:

Hi, Sir, Here is Completed Task.. Kindly see and check my attach. Here is 9 tabs, Total 850 Rows. Previous 350 rows. Total 1200 Rows Completed. Rate $5 + $1 Upwork Fee. per 100 Rows. So, Total, 12* ($5*$1)= $72 USD. You Already paid $30.00 . Thanks-Shah

I checked into the spreadsheet and I was happy to see that he had collected a majority of the data I was looking for, but there was one caveat: the bars listed in the spreadsheet were all from Charlotte, North Carolina, rather than Portland, Oregon. So I reached back out to Shah, asking if there was any chance he was able to collect the 100 bar contacts in Portland.

After a little negotiation…

Ok I will Add new Row for that.

I woke up this morning and pulled up my e-mail, and sure enough, there was Shah!

Here is new Sheet. Kindly see and check this. 

He provided one last spreadsheet with 99 bar contacts for Portland, Oregon (and one from New South Wales, Australia, which makes me sure he’s using a bot.) But that was absolutely great, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results of my first attempt at outsourcing.

All in all, this entire data collection project cost me a little over $70, including fees, and saved me hours upon hours of my own time. Collecting this amount of information would have most likely taken me a full 40-hour week, but working with Shah, the project breaks down to roughly $0.05 per contact. Not a bad deal!

Did you like this post? Check out some of our other popular Mystery Tin posts!
The Wisdom of Shark Tank 
is a mega-post of the insight I gained by watching every episode of the investment show Shark Tank
Starting A Monthly Newsletter is a look at the inner workings of my new Mystery Tin Monthly e-mail newsletter. (You can sign up here!)
Personal Fire Ecology is a quick look at the rationale behind my yearly purge by fire.
How to Run a Successful Crowdsourcing Campaign is a fantastic overview of the nuts and bolts in running a crowdsourcing campaign.

Best Notebooks for Daily Notes

As someone who fancies himself a bit of a writer, inspiration can strike at anytime, anywhere, in any form. I was tired of having struggling with my phone to jot down my thoughts (it’s a little awkward), so this year I’m doing my best to take physical notes… on everything.

IMG_7825.JPGThanks to a little insight from Santa Claus, I was lucky enough to receive one of these sweet Moleskine 2017 Daily Planner Box Sets. They’re perfect for keeping in your back pocket to jot down your daily notes and appointments, but you don’t have to carry around an entire year’s worth of paper in your pocket to do so (like this video I did in 2013). Just one month at a time! For years I’ve been searching for the perfect notebook, and this box set is already quickly becoming my favorite so far.

I know that I can keep my notes in my iPhone, but putting ink to paper gives more of a permanency to my thoughts and notes. For instance, if I did write down something in my phone, where does it ultimately end up? Do I need to create a document for each thought I have? Or a new note for each category of thoughts? There’s almost more work involved in efficiently organizing your digital notes than just writing them down, in your notebook, on today’s date. Simple. It’s clean. It’s efficient. It doesn’t disappear into the metadata of your computer’s hard drive full of files, instead it’s right there in your pocket, ink on paper. When I’m ready to harvest my golden thoughts and experiences, I’ll go back through the notebooks!

IMG_7826.JPGThese notebooks carry with them all the quintessential Moleskine hallmarks. The first pages of each notebook are filled with 2017 monthly calendars, international holidays, time zones, travel agendas, flight times (yeah, really), time zones and measurements… and then it gets to the daily pages. I don’t need a lot of space to remember meetings, funny quips of dialogue, ideas, retrospections and gratitude. I just need a few lines and a pen.

Hypergraphia is a behavioral condition characterized by the intense desire to write (yes, that’s straight from Wikipedia). I’ve thought about this a lot, and while I don’t necessarily think I have hypergraphia to a point of debilitation, I do think there’s a strong physical desire in me to write and create everyday. (I have dozens of notes in my phone and even more notebooks, filled with notes, in boxes in my room.) The downside is, with the constant traffic of ideas flowing through my head all the time, I tend to miss or forget a lot of the tiny gems I would have loved to incorporate into my writing. This year, I’m committed to my hypergraphia, keeping notes and recording my gratitude as I go, and having these notebooks in my pocket is a great start.

IMG_7827.JPGAlong the way, I’ve picked up some amazing tips and tricks for efficient note taking, which could (and should) be it’s own blog post. Needless to say, these beautiful notebooks are filled with acronyms, highlights, diagrams, sketches, stickers, phone numbers, and thousands of quick scribbles which may only make sense to me when I’m squinting through drunken eyes, but that’s all that really matters, right?

At the end of the year, when I’ve worked my way through all twelve notebooks, having recorded and recollected on every single day of the year, these notebooks will contain an amazing snippet of my life in technicolor on my desktop, and I’ll be able to glean all the fun, entertaining, and otherwise trivial thoughts into something worth reading.

Since it’s only January 5, it’s not too late for you to pick up a set of these Moleskine Notebooks and get to writing!

Did you like this post? Check out some of our other popular Mystery Tin posts!
The Wisdom of Shark Tank 
is a mega-post of the insight I gained by watching every episode of the investment show Shark Tank
Starting A Monthly Newsletter is a look at the inner workings of my new Mystery Tin Monthly e-mail newsletter. (You can sign up here!)
Personal Fire Ecology is a quick look at the rationale behind my yearly purge by fire.
How to Run a Successful Crowdsourcing Campaign is a fantastic overview of the nuts and bolts in running a crowdsourcing campaign.

The A-Z of My 2016

I thought a creative way to retrospect on this past year was to create an A-Z “mega post” of my year, briefly touching on my experiences from Austin, Texas to Yoga, some of my favorite songs, and a handful of my ambitions and personality quirks.

As a disclaimer, I’ve included affiliate links to some of my favorite products. No biggie!

tumblr_o2se7xsh0q1rt7qgbo1_500A: Austin, Texas. I visited Austin in February for a business trip to attend the Mother Earth News Fair. We spent a few days in Austin, kicking around to multiple coffee shops (including the Tom’s flagship coffee shop) and unique bars (like the “secret” bar behind the bookshelf in a hostel) in search of the perfect Manhattan. I didn’t get to spend enough time there, but Austin, “I love you so much.”

B: Bees. Over this past year, I have been a vocal advocate for pollinators and honey bees. Their role in the ecosystem as a keystone species is unparalleled and there’s no doubt their existence is in danger. If you are interested in getting involved with beekeeping (it’s really not that hard!) I recommend checking out the good work over at Bee Thinking.

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-56-58-pmC: Card Games. I did a lot of “research” into card games this year, with a few of my favorites being Morels, One Hit Kill, and of course, Cards Against Humanity. Next year, Mystery Tin Games will be coming out with three games: Happy Hour!, a card version of the game “Hex,” and Robin Miller Presents Dinner’s Ready! Keep an eye out for Happy Hour! in February 2017! And if you haven’t already picked up Dinner’s Ready!, the healthy eating  card, you can get pick one up here! (Thank You!)

D: Mr. and Mrs. Graham Douds. This year one of my best friends in the world, Graham Douds, got married to his beautiful fiancé, Kate. As a member of the bridal party, we traveled to Cabo San Lucas for a bachelors weekend and later, in September, they were married at a beautiful ceremony in the Napa Valley. I couldn’t be happier to be part of their special day and seeing the way they love each other is nothing short of inspiring. Cheers!

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Mr. and Mrs. Graham Douds

E: EDM. Yeah, yeah, go ahead. I’ll admit it, I listened to more than a little EDM this year, and I can’t say that I’m ashamed. I truly believe that there is nothing more human than dancing. There’s no “right way” to dance, just move your body however you want. Whether it was dancing at the splash stage at What The Festival, in the front row at the Crystal Ballroom, or in my car  on traffic, I can’t help but dance and smile. I’m not saying it’s the greatest music ever created, all I’m saying is that you should try it sometime.

F: Freelance. This year was my first official foray into freelancing on the website UpWork. Forbes believes that 50% of Americans will be freelancing in 2020, many outside of their day jobs. If you’ve ever been paid to do a job for somebody, i.e. your day job, that skill can now be made available to anyone on the planet. And you’d be amazed what people are looking to outsource. This year I mostly focused on writing jobs, including blogs and screenplay adaptations. In 2017, freelancing will take on a much bigger role in my life, including hiring some of my own freelance help.

G: Groceries (Fred Meyer). OMG. Have you ever been to a Fred Meyer? Holy shit. I mean, these places are amazing. It’s like a Safeway, Best Buy, and Target had a love child and while arguing over paternity they decided to name it the innocuous “Fred Meyer.” That’s Oh yeah, did I mention they offer gasoline, too? Whatever you’re looking for, chances are they’ve got it. It’s a one stop shop. Thanks for the hookup, Fred G. Meyer!

H- Hawthorne. For a majority of 2015 I lived and worked in the Hawthorne neighborhood in Southeast Portland. Despite the fact we were paying INSANE RENT for our apartment that was the size of an open matchbox, Hawthorne is an interesting neighborhood. Over the course of one block you can find a tattoo parlor, vintage clothing shop, get your haircut in an airstream trailer, fill your growler with kombucha, pick up some vinyl records, and get your bicycle tuned while getting an artisan coffee and a donut. While there’s no doubt the Hawthorne is the result of gentrification (as I was reminded often by complete strangers when they saw my California license plates), it’s still a fun neighborhood to check out when you’re in Portland.

15327450_10211139875630103_1152892381576227980_nI – Intimacy. For the first time in the last 7 years, I’m not dating anyone. It’s not easy to be broken up with and asked to move out. It’s even harder to continue living together while the divide becomes more and more apparent. Love isn’t for the weak or the scared. Love is for the daring, the risky, and those who desire to give more of themselves than they’d ever expect to receive from another human being. Loving with your entire heart is dangerous, but ultimately an important growing experience, just like the pain of the inevitable heartbreak when you lose it. I’m not bitter or angry, I just miss my best friend. But I recently saw this meme, and despite the spelling errors (maybe intentional), it made me feel a little bit better.

tumblr_o97jzb8ntm1rt7qgbo1_500J: Justice. I can’t say I got the justice I felt that I deserved, but I had more interactions with the police and the judicial system this year than I have (in total) since I left the legal field. I received a couple tickets, almost got my car towed, appeared in traffic court to defend myself (and lost), and recently attended a hearing to appeal my unemployment case. Needless to say, it’s better to stay under the radar than on it. Putting that behind me in 2017.

K: Kiiara – Gold. One of my favorite songs from 2016, Gold is a super-glitchy, sexy jam that sets the mood whenever you turn it on. The song just drips with seduction. If you stand in front of the mirror and turn this song, I promise you’re gonna feel yourself. It tastes like money when I speak.

tumblr_ohmj0i86rw1rt7qgbo1_500L: Louis the Child. Another one of my surprise favorites this year, I saw Louis the Child perform twice, once at What The Festival and in early December in Portland. These two kids, literally 19 years old, are dancing their way into their fans hearts. Admittedly, most of the people in the crowd were freshly-legal, scantily-clad girls straight rolling (awkward), but these kids are somebody to keep an eye on. My favorite song is probably their most popular track, It’s Strange.

M: Magnetic North. Since moving to Portland, I’ve reconnected with my high school buddy Walker Cahall (Waltronic), a graphic artist and printer. This year he became the manager of his creative space, Magnetic North. It’s an awesome space with desks, screen printing machines (for paper and fabric), CNC machines, and paints galore. They hold events every month, inviting the community inside to see how the magic happens and pick up some amazing art! If you get the chance to stop in, do it, and tell Walker I sent you.

N: National Felons League. This has been the sixth year of our Fantasy Football League, The National Felons League. I was the commissioner for the first five years (not earning a penny for the first four years), but this past season I handed off the responsibilities. Perhaps it was the best decision I’ve made, because this season I got to the championships, but came up short. 2nd place! Cash money, please!

tumblr_o3ywr3TaZN1rt7qgbo1_500O: The Obamas. Write the President. Seriously, do it. Whichever President you prefer, the outgoing or incoming, go ahead and write him a letter. It only costs $0.47 of postage to tell the President of United States of America whatever you want. That’s it! Earlier this year, I sent a copy of my healthy cooking card game Dinner’s Ready! to First Lady Michelle Obama, and I received a letter back! Also, as part of my previous job, I sent a letter (and awesome t-shirts) to President Obama to thank him for his Presidential actions to protect pollinators, and he sent us back a great note back! I’ll have these forever! Thanks, Obama!

P: Pacific Northwest. As a Southern California boy living in the Pacific Northwest, it takes a little getting used to the seasonality. The winters aren’t the same crisp clear skies, but rather a constant state of overcast with short spells of daily rain showers. Since I moved here in fall of 2015, we’ve had a couple of snowstorms, too! Snow days! The truth is, as somebody who frequently stays inside to create things, I don’t mind being an indoor cat for a few months during the coldest part of the year. Aside from the weather, the PNW has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Miles of beautiful hikes with waterfalls, pools, and breathtaking views! Come visit!

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Q: Quixotic. Lately I’ve come to embrace the fact that I may hold some quixotic views about my role in the world I live in. I am eternally optimistic that we can achieve the idealized world we all aspire for while desperately holding onto shreds of what we actually have. Perhaps my over-idealism stems from an unrealistic confidence that if I continue to work hard, and treat people well, the world will reciprocate in the form of success and happiness. I’m not exactly “tilting at windmills,” but I do find myself occasionally lashing out with aggression towards figures from my past as if attempting to “right the wrong,” an act that is foolishly impractical in the pursuit of progress. Next year, I’m letting it go.

tumblr_nwzlm6lyrk1rt7qgbo1_500R: Rabbit. No, I’m not talking about these creepy shrunken heads I found at Paxton Gate, I’m talking about my sweet ass white, 2009 VW Rabbit with 2.5 Liters. This car has been my saving grace, from road tripping the 16 hours from Ojai to Portland, carrying Dinner’s Ready! boxes to the Belmont Street fair, or napping in the back evading a domestic-squabble, my Rabbit and I are thick as thieves. For Christmas, I got her some new windshield wipers and a new rearview mirror. In exchange, we made it the 16 hours back to Portland safely. Thanks, babe!

S: Bernie Sanders. I attended my first political rally this year for Bernie Sanders. I have always been into politics, but this was my first rally. My boss had given me the morning off so I could go to the rally, and it was a magical experience. While the major news networks were busy showing an empty stage waiting for Donald Trump, they were missing out on the tens of thousands that came out to see Bernie Sanders at rally after rally. The only reason why the mainstream media even mentioned this particular rally was because of the famous “Birdie Sanders” moment. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

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T: Ookay – ThiefAnother one of my favorite jams this year, I’ve probably played this song over 100 times, jamming out hard with air-saxophone. With a mixture of dance beats, digitized vocals, and a little jazz influence, this song makes you smile for all the right reasons. If you want to have even more reasons to smile at this song, you really should watch the videoI guess I’m just a selfish ghost.

U: Unemployment. I won’t get into the details of my unemployment again, I’ve done that already, but I will take a moment to address a perhaps unspoken downside of unemployment. When you’re forced to pay attention to every penny you spend in fear you won’t make rent or your credit card payments, you will psychologically (and physically) withdraw from the world around you, in fear that you will be roped into a situation where you have to spend money. You have a social life that is slowly diminished to cheap beer in your buddy’s living room, or even worse, drinking tea alone at home, starving. I’ve made the choice to emotionally leave the unemployment struggle behind me in 2016, so I’ll be back to my jovial and outwardly social former-self.

V: Voodoo Doughnuts. If there is one thing Portland does well, it’s donuts. And you can find a different kind of donut in every neighborhood. Small ones. Sugary ones. All kinds of crazy donuts. The craziest doughnuts are downtown at Voodoo Doughnuts. You’ve heard of it, you’ve seen it, it’s worth the hype, even if purely on a creative, culinary level. Delicious!

tumblr_o96gazYUv01rt7qgbo1_500.jpgW: What The Festival. This was by far one of my favorite music festivals that I’ve been to, and it was also my first experience volunteering at a festival. Despite the torrential downpours on Friday, eventually the sun came out, which made me love and appreciate the experience all that much more. If I had my ‘druthers, I’d love to go again this year. Want to tag along? Pre-sale tickets go on sale next week!

X: Xbox One. My parents gave me an Xbox One last year for Christmas, and it’s definitely one of the best things I had this year. Honestly, I don’t play very many games, but there’s a few I like; Rainbow Six Siege and Fallout 4 were at the top of my list this year, but even more importantly, I’m hooked up with HBOGO and Netflix through the Xbox One wifi. BAM! Never before have I had such a massive amount of content at my fingertips, and I can only imagine it’s going to get bigger (and better) next year. I think it’s probably in my best interest to implement some television watching parameters for myself next year, or else I am going to be an (even more) unproductive slob, but it’s super cool!

Y: Yoga. I was never big into yoga. I was successful at acrobatics when I trained at Circus Center, but I was never a fan of all the mysticism that is commonly associated with yoga. This year, however, my significant other took classes to become a Corepower Yoga instructor, and I was a frequent student for her homework training. I even did some partner Acro Yoga (thanks, Master Lu Yi!). Surprisingly… I kinda like yoga. Near the end of the teacher training sessions, I finally got the hang of the different poses and my body felt really good, almost longing for more physical activity. It was obvious I had not been physically active over the last year, that’s gonna change in 2017.

IMG_4825.jpgZ: ZZZZ (a.k.a. Sleep). Sleep is fucking important! I know it might seem like an easy (and likely) entry for “z” but in all honesty, I really try my best to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. This means, most nights, I’m asleep by 10:30 and up at 6 AM… sometimes 6:30 AM. I occasionally pulled late nights writing or socializing, but for the most part, I was in early because this year I learned a good lesson about myself and my work. I’m a morning person. I get my best work done in the stillness of the morning, before the rest of the world is awake. In 2017, I’m stepping that up the early morning work even more.

What about you? What are the A-Zs of your life in the year 2016? What lessons are you carrying forward into 2017? Let me know!

Thank You from MysteryTin.com! We’ll see you in 2017!

——-

Did you like this post? Check out some of our other popular posts!
How to Run a Successful Crowdsourcing Campaign is a fantastic overview of the nuts and bolts in running a crowdsourcing campaign.
Starting a Podcast (Network) for Under $200 on WordPress is the play-by-play I used in setting up the show MAD Potential (with Ben Mehl) on the Mystery Tin Podcast Network.
Find Your Funk, Save the World Once you found your purpose, there’s nothing you can’t do.

Book Review: A Confederacy of Dunces

The book, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, may have saved my life.

tumblr_ogp49tympF1rt7qgbo1_500.jpgTimes are tough for me right now. Truthfully, I’ve been in-between-jobs, aka “unemployed,” for nearly 10 weeks now. I’m in the throws of the uneventful unemployment appeals process, but Oregon has openly told me they have “no idea” when they’ll be able to hear my case. “If you don’t hear from us in six weeks, give us a call.” That breeds confidence in the system, doesn’t it?

Not having a job since September 13, I would be lying if I said this lack of forward momentum and structure has not taken an emotional toll on me. A sad byproduct of being truly poor is being forced to withdraw from the public sphere. No more “happy hours.” No more weekend activities. Sometimes even fast food is out of the question (except Jack in the Box tacos, I’ll always find the change for Jack in the Box tacos). Some days I’m invigorated to make progress on one of my 1000 projects, so I fly out of bed before sunrise, eager to write and create. And other days, often the rainy ones, I simply cannot find the motivation to pull myself out of bed in my tiny, converted attic space. Instead, I write in my notebooks/screenplays, watch movies, and eat ramen. A distilled existence for sure.

Recently, to add insult to injury, while visiting my ex-girlfriend at my previous apartment, my car got (almost) towed. Luckily for me, I chased the tow truck through the apartment complex and managed to open the door and jump into the driver’s seat of my car before they could drive off with it (Charlie Sheen’s character in Navy Seals would have been proud of my effort). Despite my Bolt-like sprinting in wool socks, the tow truck guys weren’t impressed or nearly as forgiving, so they “had no choice” but to charge me the drop fee of $197. This cleaned out my bank account… completely. We’re talking $0.23.

In these times, the lowest moments, we can turn to our friends and family for support and guidance. My family has been a constant support system for me for the last 31 years, I couldn’t stand to shoulder them with my latest economic mishap, so instead I called my best friend and melted into a puddle in my car in the parking lot of my local Fred Meyer. I cried about my lack of money and the lack of opportunities. I opined about my omni-potential and what I could accomplish if only given the chance. And lastly, this was truthfully the hardest part for me to verbalize to my best friend and even harder to write about here, I told him that I felt like a failure in comparison to the watermarks of my friends, seeing success in their own respective lives. I was truly at the bottom.

“I want you to read this book,” he said over the phone.

Two days later, I received an overnight package from my best friend. Inside was a card from him and his girlfriend, with a handful of gift cards tucked in. “We want to help!” he wrote in his chicken scratch cursive. I couldn’t help but break down in gratitude. Tucked in with the card was the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

If he had the audacity to send me this book via overnight mail with claims it would change my life, the least I could do is sit down and give it a little read it. The old college try. Since I wasn’t exactly doing anything else that day, I made myself some hot chocolate and cozied up on the couch with my new book. Sounds perfect, right? Considered by some to be a masterwork of “American comedy literature” and picaresque literature, I was excited to dig in. I needed a good laugh.

51zP2kOP+CL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSet in New Orleans in the late 1960s, the protagonist of the story is Ignatius J. Reilly, an overeducated 30-year-old living at home with his mother. Described as a”slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one.” Ignatius spends a majority of his time in his bedroom, writing verbose diatribes in his Big Chief notepads and scathing letters to his pen pal, Myrna. His family comes under financial stress (due in part to Ignatius), so Ignatius’ mother sends him out into the world to get a job. His adventures in joining the workforce are entertaining and the ripples reach the farthest corners of the novel. The cast of characters are familiar, funny, and whimsical renditions of New Orleans during that era. At times, it was impossible to deny the obvious echoes between the novel’s enigmatic main character and my own current predicament. I won’t give anything else away, but this is truly a book worth reading for anybody concerned they may be circling around an existential crisis.

Toole spent six years trying to get Dunces published, but ultimately, his efforts were fruitless. Despite being a beloved English professor, served in the military in Puerto Rico, and his continued pursuit of higher education, Toole became unhinged and depressed at age 30. He lost his teaching position and some would say, his grasp on reality. At age 31, he withdrew $1500 and embarked on a road trip, touring the country. Nobody’s exactly sure where he went, but he ultimately ended up in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he ran a garden hose from his exhaust pipe into his driver’s side window. When officers found his body, they said he showed “no signs of distress.”

Toole’s mother, Thelma Toole, believed her son’s writing was remarkable, and felt it was her duty to share it with the world. She continued his mission of getting the novel published, going so far as to reach out to Walker Percy, author and teacher at Loyola University. With Percy’s help, the book was eventually published in 1980, and in 1981, A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Before you go calling my parents, I am nowhere near going for “one last road trip” hurrah before meeting my own garden hose fate, but I was feeling extremely downtrodden about my potential and my place in the gears of the world. Reading A Confederacy of Dunces brought some humor back into my life and inspired me to write, in a new, honest, way. Perhaps more than ever, I’m eager to re-find and craft my own, unique writing voice again.

“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”  – Ignatius J. Reilly

CHE

#NaNoWriMo2016: The Journal

November 30, 2016: Let’s Call it What It Is

Of the three screenplays that I wrote during the month of November, one is a “secret,” one is ongoing, and the other is finished and reposing until January. Since that’s the only one I can really talk about here, I figured it’s best to tell you what I wrote and see if there’s any interest from my friends out there in reading it.

Takeoff is the story of Justin Case, an Iraq War veteran who, after returning from a tumultuous tour in Afghanistan, got into the business of high end repossessions, specifically airplanes. Taking his assignments from Lloyd, an old man in diner by the airport, Justin and his team are sent on a mission to “retrieve” an airplane from the Middle East that is suspected of being in terrorist hands. The mission is a set-up, so Justin and his team do everything they can to find the dangerous man behind the assignment, and what they find, strikes at the very core of Justin’s existence.

I’d like to think of it as Mission Impossible meets Airplane Repo.

Let me know if you want to read it!

November 28, 2016: Winner!

NaNoWriMo_2016_WebBanner_Winner.pngIn light of recent world events (Fidel Castro), and my shortage of words for the NaNoWriMo competition, I have decided to revive one of my old projects. There’s a short window where this particular idea will hold cultural significance and value. In order to hit that window, I need to finish this particular idea, this particular screenplay, as soon as possible. I imagine it’s going to take me until the end of the year, but I’m starting it right now and including it in the NaNoWriMo word count. Whatever! I’m writing, isn’t that the most important part?

I’ll admit, this started project started with an outline and a handful of scenes written, so this isn’t completely from stone. The important part about this project is that this combines two of my favorite forms of storytelling: historical fiction and conspiracy theories. Historical fiction is as accurate to history as it can (while still remaining entertaining), and conspiracy theories are the intellectual pole vaults between the those moments. Merging these two together, depicting how conspiracy theories come into being, are some of the most interesting stories to me. This is one of those stories.

There’s significant research to be done. Books. Biographies. Documentaries. I could spend an entire year doing research into this character, but that’s all part of the journey. With screenplays in particular, the story will continue to evolve until it is projected in a theatre. If you can get the story down on the paper, you can continue to cultivate that character in updated versions, but the entertainment, the structure of the story, has bones ready for meat.

I spent the weekend at home, researching and writing. As I tend to do when it comes to these types of projects, I went through the outline, bullet by bullet, scene by scene, elaborating and making notes for later scenes. I really hit my “flow state” and let the pages just roll out of my fingertips. I’ll deal with the intricacies of dialogue later, right now, I’m looking for the knives in the back.

With a handful of #writingsprints over the weekend, I managed to break the 50,000 mark and become an official “Winner” of NaNoWriMo2016. I know there are actual prizes for people who wrote actual novels, so I don’t think I’ll really “compete” in whatever competitions exist, but maybe that’s something I’ll do next year?

I may be crossed 50,000 words, but I’m far from finished.

Word Count: 52,597/50,00

November 24, 2016: Thanksgiving Day!

I will openly admit that this blog post is being written at a later date. I was too busy writing to pull myself away to blog, so now I’m going back and filling in the gap with the comings-and-goings of my NaNoWriMo.

Yet another benefit of living in Portland as a creative human being is totality of the circumstances are incredibly conducive to getting work done. The overcast days are a constant reminder that “there’s nothing out there that’s worth enduring that rain.” (I know it’s not true, but when I have to write, I don’t mind the fact it’s raining outside.) The pounding of rain on the roof is even more relevant these days as I live in a converted attic space. (I think I’ve mentioned this before)

I acknowledged in the few earlier writings that I did do, is that I was not writing a novel, but rather, a pair of screenplays. By Thanksgiving day, the alleged date of this particular entry, I had finished the initial draft of both screenplays. I had proudly and confidently descended the stairs into my empty house, drove to a friend’s house, and consumed a delicious Dungeness Crab Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, “Crabsgiving.”

The first screenplay, the adaptation, was based on an e-book. It was partly motivational, partly autobiographical, part research paper. I chose to pursue the route of a psychological thriller, the “confined” thriller, as an opportunity for the main character to impart her wisdom and motivational prose. It didn’t come out as “long” as I wanted. It was only around 83 pages, or just under 15000 words. I’m waiting on a series of notes, but ideally I’ll be adding a good 15 to 20 pages to the film.

The second screenplay, the action film, was intended to be a mindless piece of fast-paced action with a new spin on the team dynamic. Something requiring very little thought to enjoy. I quickly wrote 90 pages, imaging the remaining scenes in the film to wrap up in the next 10 pages or so. I sat down on Monday morning and couldn’t stop writing until 10 PM that night, and I still wasn’t finished! I woke up the next day, and did the same all-day writing session, finally wrapping up on Tuesday night. 133 pages. 25,732 words.

Word Count: 40,593/50,000

November 4, 2016:

Today was a spit-shine printing day.

When I get to these points in the script, I will print out the entire script and read through it from the beginning, making the edits by hand. Because I don’t want to waste paper, I print them out two-to-a-page on a landscape page.

This is an incredibly important part of my process. It allows me to look at the story with fresher eyes, taking ink to white paper, rather than the sharp brightness of my laptop monitor. Writing my notes in the margins is a freeing experience, something I still haven’t found a good equivalent of in Final Draft. (Yeah, I know there are notes, etc) Because I’m superstitious, I normally make my edits in green ink. I don’t really know why this is, but I use a fine point pen with green ink and I edit every page by hand.

Once I’ve gotten through the entire screenplay, I will then scan the document and upload it to my computer. I know that this process could one day be streamlined with the use of Evernote, but for now, I scan and upload. Then I’ll start at the beginning, go back through the screenplay page-by-page, and make the changes from my edits. For the most part, I refer to the original hand-edited papers, but, in the event I am “on the go,” I can pull up the scanned document and apply my notes.

Without truly adding any “new material” to the screenplay, but rather, “elaborating on ideas I’d already started in the first draft,” I was able to put an additional an additional 2313 words on the script, pushing me over the 10,000 word mark.

I’m planning on taking it easy tomorrow, “doing research,” and then doing a late night push on the script, hoping to break page 60. Here’s to a job well done!

Word Count: 11,532/50,000

November 3, 2016:

Write, write, write.

Today I got to explore the characters a little more, let them settle into their scenes, and see how they would respond. It’s an interesting process to get to know characters you didn’t create and hardly know yet, especially when they’re evil. What does a particularly evil person, such as my character, do in this situation?

I also started to take the screenplay off the tracks a little bit. The source material is running thin, so I’m starting to get creative. I’m bringing back characters, giving them larger parts, and twisting their persona. The good people, might not be so good after all. And the bad people, just how bad are they?

I put another 2,273 words on paper today, which I will always consider a good day, whether it’s a screenplay, book, or blog post. But the even better feeling is that a majority of that content was fresh, grown from bullet-points watered with highlights. I love that part of the adaptation and research phase. One line, one snippet of information, a throwaway piece of dialogue, can turn into a massive part of the story. When I find those seeds, I pull them out and water them. After all, the entire screenplay is intended to be seeds for film, right?

The problem I see myself experiencing in the foreseeable future is that my source material, as a structure for creative narrative, is almost running out. More than half of the source material is “inspirational” and “motivational” in nature, which unfortunately provides me with nothing other than morsels of preachy dialogue. (“You can empower yourself to achieve your dreams,” etc.) My concern is that there won’t be enough story to reach the feature length zone, roughly 100+ pages.

Nevertheless, I’m just over 50 pages in.

Word Count: 9047/50,000

November 2, 2016:

Today was more preparation work than writing. I started the day with a solid structure of the events taking place throughout the course of the screenplay. When all was said and done on the first day, I had written roughly 29 pages. Looking at my document currently, I’m only on page 37.

What I did this morning was immensely valuable, however, as I went back through the original source material and highlighted opportunities for flashbacks and character discussions. I worked through all 120 pages and broke down the section into categories. Chances are these are going to be used as points of dialogue to extrapolate on.

Then I went back through my writing from yesterday, interjecting notes between scenes to remind myself to insert a new scene, what the scene is about, and where I can find the references in the source material. This isn’t as cut and dry as it could be, as more than a handful of the chapters in the source book are informational, rather than narrative, so they’re not that easy to work into a fictional screenplay.

Therefore, as a general tool during my writing process, I keep a separate list of plot strands, ideas, comments, anything that I can loop back to later. In this particular case, we’re talking the ex-husband, ebony magazine, quotes by Confucius, rhinoceroses, Houdini’s straight jacket, and that she said at the church in the beginning.

I was preoccupied today, but I did want to make sure that at the bare minimum, I wrote the average of 1667 words so that I could keep the momentum going into tomorrow, when I’m planning on another big day of writing. Maybe I’ll even do a couple of writing sprints! If you’re following along with me on Twitter (@themysterytin) keep an eye out in the early afternoon for an hour Writing Sprint! Let’s use the hashtag #WritingSprint!

Word Count: 6774/50,000

November 1, 2016:

Today was the first day of NaNoWriMo and I got to work with unparalleled fervor and delight. I’d read and highlighted all my notes, converted my outline into scenes in Final Draft, and I was ready to buckle down and get everything down onto paper. Today’s goal was to get as many of my highlights into the text of the screenplay.

This is part of the reason why I generally enjoy doing adaptations. I love being able to dig in deep, discovering the core ideas and concepts at play, then transferring those ideas and concepts across mediums, and breathing new life into them along the way. Every highlight is an opportunity for exploration.

The main dramatic sequence I worked on today was an armed robbery in our main character’s home. My main character was captured, tied up, and taken into the basement while her house was burglarized. During the traumatic event, she is watched over by a burglar and they begin to develop a friendship, or so she thinks.

I typically start with the skeleton, and as I go back through draft with each rewrite, I like to tie in little details along that way that support my original themes and concepts. This means the conversations between characters are typically rather shallow and the scene descriptions are scant. I do special revisions of the script just focusing on these two areas, but it’s all gotta start somewhere.

Because the entirety of my story takes place over one afternoon, there will be a number of flashbacks helping to build plot and character development. Tomorrow’s writing will be primarily focused around identifying those flashbacks and finding the right places for them in the story.

Word Count: 5086/50,000

I’m excited to be officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, November is “National Novel Writing Month” encouraging writers of all ages and abilities to buckle down and write. As I am almost exclusively writing in a freelance capacity, but I decided to accept the additional challenge and to share my experiences here with my community.

You can see my official NanoWriMo Page here.

This isn’t necessarily the standard NaNoWriMo project, as I’m writing an adaptation of an e-book outline into a screenplay. There are no diehard rules about participating in the program (other than declaring I’m starting with an outline), so I still think I’m in the clear to participate and share. It doesn’t have an official title yet and I don’t think I want to share my screenplay publicly yet, as this project may one day be released under a pen name or most likely updated. Luckily, NaNoWriMo offers a “scrambling” service that allows you to scramble your text before you upload it for counting. That’ll be fun to play with, but if the going gets tough or too cumbersome, I may not update the official NaNoWriMo page as much and I’ll just focus on updating everybody here on the blog.

The word count goal is 50,000 words. Most screenplays, however, typically land in the 20-25,000 word range, and a majority of those are character names and locations that get repeated a ton, so chances are I’m not going to accomplish the word count goal, but I am confident that on November 30, 2016, I will be finished with an engaging, completed screenplay.

Current Word Count: 0/50,000